HP ProLiant: 601 – diskette controller error, what it really means

I recently got this puzzling error message on an HP ProLiant Server: 601 – Diskette Controller Error with the system just stopping at the BIOS, no way to enter the maintenance menu or continue booting. Well that’s odd, I though… being a BL460c blade server. All the documentation I could find online suggested it’s a defective floppy drive, or loose cabling… which a blade server doesn’t have.

Ok, so it’s a legacy error message. Maybe the BBWC? Nope. Backplane module then? Nope. The disks? Nah. The fucking SD card module? Not even that… Well, let’s try a system reset them using the DIP switches. Nope. Switching to backup ROM and booting with that one… Doesn’t work either. Well, fuck. Remove all the mezzanine cards – basically the system stripped down to the bare minimum. Still the same error.

About three hours later… Being the only removable part left, I figured I remove the CMOS battery and check it while I’ve it remove. Turns out it’s dead. Replace it with a new CR2032 button cell and voila – system boots again as if nothing happened.

So there you go… 601 – diskette controller error apparently really means: your CMOS battery is dead, better replace it. Even though the documentation says otherwise.

Dear HP: Fuck you. I want those hours of my life back.

phpMyAdmin root login vs. MariaDB

So I just installed a new Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial box with MariaDB 10.0 and phpMyAdmin but for some reason just can’t login as root user via phpMyAdmin, although it works via the shell. Turn’s out MariaDB enabled the unix_socket plugin-in for the root user, preventing phpMyAdmin from working out of the box like it does with native MySQL. So much for drop-in replacement – figuring that one out was quite frustrating…

Here’s how you disable it:

Updating a Cisco WIP 310

I recently got a used Cisco WIP 310 VoIP phone for fairly cheap and figured it would be nice to have a wireless handset as well. Or so I thought… because the thing still had it’s original firmware installed and turned out to be fucking useless. Couldn’t even get it to find my wireless network, let alone login or do anything but crash randomly.

Let’s see if there’s a new firmware available… great, it is! 5.0.13 as compared to 5.0.11 that was installed. But of course the firmware update via the supplied updater program didn’t work either. Manually copied the file to the handset and rebooted, came up with 5.0.11 again. Great…

So, long story short – here’s the way I finally managed to update it. Hope it helps someone else:

  1. Set up an open wireless network. For some reason the handset just wouldn’t work with my WPA2 secured network. You’ll need this only for the update procedure.
  2. In the wireless settings, change the IP configuration from DHCP to some static address on your network. Because for some reason DHCP didn’t work either…
  3. Now try to connect your WIP 310 to the network. It may take a couple of tries and/or reboots. Don’t ask me why, but eventually it did connect and I could ping the device.
  4. Open up the IP-Address of your phone in a web browser. Make sure the webserver is enabled: Settings -> Misc Settings -> Enable Web Server
  5. Go to ‘Admin Login’ on the upper right corner. On the ‘Ext 1’ tab set ‘Line Enable’ to ‘no’ and on the ‘Provisioning’ make sure ‘Upgrade Enable’ is set to yes
  6. Now for the magic… Extract the firmware image from the ZIP file and upload it to some Webserver. Make sure you can reach that server from your open wireless network so your phone can access that file.
  7. Schedule a firmware update via your browser: Go to http://your-phone-ip-address/admin/upgrade?http://your-server/path-to/wip310-5.0.13-04-26-2010.img
    You’ll get a message that the phone will update the firmware when idle. Wait a minute or two, maybe watch the Logfile on your webserver in case you have access. Eventually you’ll see a request by a client identifying as “Cisco/WIP310-5.0.11(10301355) (YOUR-PHONES-SERIAL)” or something like that.
  8. Wait for your phone to reboot. Reload the Admin Page in your browser to make sure it’s updated to 5.0.13

After that, you’ll notice the GUI on your phone looks a little different as well. And most importantly… it finally works. It also works with WPA2, hidden SSID networks and whatnot. It still has some bugs registering on some SIP servers. Even though it sometimes works, every now and then you’ll get a not registered error message. To fix that, take a look at the supplied PDF with the release notes. It tells you to change a couple settings:

  1. On the ‘SIP’ tab look for SIP Timer Values, the SIP T1 timer need to be changed from 0.5 to 2
  2. Also on the ‘SIP’ tab look for Response Status Code Handling, the Retry Reg RSC value needs to be set to 401
  3. Now got to the ‘Ext 1’ tab, set ‘Line Enable’ to yes again and enter your SIP settings to login to your SIP service.

After all that is done, the phone finally appears to be working the way it’s supposed to.

Juniper EX2200 vs. USB serial adapter

Recently I had to factory-reset a Juniper EX2200 switch for which the password got lost. No big deal one would assume: Connect the console cable to the switch, plug in a USB-to-serial adapter since neither my notebook nor my desktop come with a serial port anymore, reset the switch and press space when the boot messages scroll by…

… except they don’t. Which is funny, because the serial connection itself worked fine just a minute ago – I just had no way of logging in. Reset the switch again, nothing. Wait a couple minutes… and the switch is completely fired up, except I still don’t get any output on the serial port. Detach the USB adapter, hook it up again, press some keys and there’s the login. Try the Reset again, same thing happens. And so on…

Apparently, the only way I get output is to attach the serial line after the switch powered on. Well, ok then – connect the line the second after the switch got power. Apparently that’s to fast. Plug it in a couple seconds later, apparently that’s to slow since the switch is already booting the kernel and you’ll have to press space at the bootloader before that. Let’s try something in between… doesn’t work either, only gets garbage output and doesn’t accept my input, since apparently that’s not the right time either. Goddamn, WTF? How hard can it be to watch the switch boot? Strange thing is, I haven’t had any problems with that cheap-ass adapter and other devices so far.

An hour (and about a dozen or two resets) later I decided to fuck it and grab an old HP Server I have laying around for testing spare-hardware… it still has a serial port. Hook it up to a screen, keyboard, connect the serial line there and boot an OS from USB. Guess what? The Juniper bootloader shows up just fine, no matter what. It’s just my fucking retarded USB serial adapter thingy which craps out for some reason or another.

Done. In about two minutes or so, if it wasn’t for my stupid serial adapter, which turned it into an two almost hour ordeal.

Gun Controll in less than 1 minute

Stefan Molyneux manages to sum up the idea of gun control in 47 seconds:

If you are for gun control, then you are not against guns, because the guns will be needed to disarm people. So it’s not that you are anti-gun. You’ll need the police’s guns to take away other people’s guns. So you are very pro-gun, you just believe that only the Government (which is, of course, so reliable, honest, moral and virtuous) should be allowed to have guns. There is no such thing as gun control. There is only centralizing gun ownership in the hands of a small, political elite and their minions

Grant Williams ASFA 2013 presentation

While this isn’t an economics or investment blog by any means, here’s a nice 30 minute presentation by Grant Williams recently given during the 2013 ASFA conference. Humorous as always and IMHO spot-on, outlining the current state of international financial markets, the current government bond bubble and equity rally of 2013… and how it’s all inevitably going to go down in flames. Very well worth watching, even if you aren’t a investor, trader or otherwise closely associated with the financial markets.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A3CoFyi2U8]